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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19614
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My 4year old Siamese cat has suddenly gone off his food and

Customer Question

My 4year old Siamese cat has suddenly gone off his food and developed a high temperature. What can I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


How long has Willow been showing these signs?

What is his temperature?

Has he had any vomiting, retching, pawing at his mouth, hard swallowing or lip licking?

Is there any chance he could have ingested something he should not have (ie toxins, plants, bones, string/thread, any non-edible item)?

Does he have any belly tenderness or tenseness?

Is he passing feces? Is it normal? Is he straining to pass it?

Has he seen his vet at any point yet (since often we need cat safe anti-pyrexic drugs to addres fevers while treating the underlying trigger)?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Willow is usually a strong energetic cat. He has freedom to go out and I never see him actually passing faeces .
Just this evening he has been very unlike his usual self, refusing food and just wanting to sleep . He feels very hot but I have no means to take his temperature. Normally I would take him to the vet but this is not possible on a Saturday night.
He had his annual booster jabs ten days ago. And has spent four days at a Cattery since then. He seemed perfectly fit when I brought him home two days ago.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Naomi,

No worries if you cannot take a temperature, I just wanted to appreciate how high his fever may be. If he just feels warm to the touch, it is possible that the temperature may just be a wee bit elevated rather then being a high fever.

In any case, any temperature can make cats feel unwell, lethargic, and put them off their food. And while we can see anorexia associated with a wide range of agents (ie pancreatitis, metabolic conditions, organ disease (ie liver or kidney troubles) toxin and/or foreign material ingestion, etc), in this case we would put concerns of bacterial or viral infections at the top of our list for Willow. The reason is because it is quite possible that he picked up an opportunistic bacterial bug while at the cattery (since he would have been in an area where he shared an airspace with other cats and would have been under stress and thus at increased risk of catching something) that has now had time to incubate and rear its head now that he is home.


So, we likely are battling an infectious agent here but to complicate matters, we get concerned for cats who go off their food because cats were not well designed for the anorexic lifestyle. When they are off their food, body fat is broken down and released into the blood stream, causing their liver distress (ie. hepatic lipidosis) that can make getting them better even more difficult for us.

Now if Willow is turning away from food and not keen on his favorites, then it can be a hint that he is experiencing nausea despite not showing any vomiting (often nauseous cats go off their food rather then eat/vomit like a dog would). That said, this can be GI based but it can also be seen with systemic diseases that have an associated nausea. To rule out nausea as an anorexia differential, you can try him with antacid therapy. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). Of course, if he has any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications, then speak to his vet before using these. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease his upset stomach.

As well, you will want to try and see if you can get him eating (as I know you have been). Favourite foods are allowed or you can tempt him with a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used here (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity.)

But if he just cannot be tempted then we'd need to start thinking about initiating syringe feeds to get food into him over this weekend. Ideally, we'd want to use a diet like Hill's A/D (LINK), as it is a critical care diet that is comes as a soft, palatable pate. It is calorically dense, so a little goes a long way nutrition-wise and this could just help get some more calories into her even if we can’t get a huge volume of food in. But if you cannot gain access to a vet's over the weekend, then you can offer/syringe meat baby food or wet kitten food for the short term. Both will have more nutrients the adult cat food and both can be made into a gruel for syringe feeding by adding water. And these would be a means of getting food, staving off hepatic lipidosis, and buying you time to until he can see his vet on Monday.

On top off all of this, you do need to keep an eye on his water intake and hydration status. If possible, you do want to check his hydration now. To check this and make sure he is not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test at home. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether he has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. ( They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see and the principles are exactly the same) If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have your kitty seen by your local ER vet before this gets any further out of control.

In regards ***** ***** you can do to help stave off dehydration at home (though do note that if he is already then he will likely need more the oral rehydration), encourage him to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. As well, wet foods (as mentioned above) are 35% water, so getting him to eat will help us deal with water intake as well. If he isn't amenable to drinking, you may wish to offer unflavored pedialyte via syringe feeding. While we cannot do this if they are vomiting, it may be an option for this situation. A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal 48mls per kilogram of her body weight a day. If you do give syringe pedialyte, this should obviously be divided up into multiple offerings through the day rather then all at once. This value will give you the total he needs for the day and is a good starting point to give you an idea of the feline daily requirement. If he does vomit if you give pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want vomiting because of our intervention).

Overall, when a cat is anorexic, it can mean a wide range of underlying issues. With Willow's history, we do need to put infectious agents on the top of our list. Still, since the vet is not open on the weekend, you will want to take the above supportive steps for Willow. If you do so but do not see him picking up in the next 12-24 hours, then you do want to consider following up with his vet at that stage (since we don't want to let this linger). They can assess his hydration and help rule out some of the aforementioned concerns. Depending on the findings, the vet will be able advise you on what is likely our culprit and what can be done to help your wee one. And if infection is suspect, then they will also be able to cover him with antibiotics, give strong anti-nausea/vomiting medication by injection, and appetite stimulating drugs if necessary to get him back on track.

Finally, just to note in case you were keen to have him seen this weekend, some veterinary practices in our country have office hours on Sunday. As well, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, you could have him seen now if you wished (or could choose to wait until tomorrow). To do so, you just need to ring your vet's, as they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check the RCVS Register (HERE) to find your local vets or Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if you wanted to get him checked out sooner then Monday there are options to have him seen this weekend.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19614
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
Dr. B. and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I found your careful analysis of my questions very helpful.
It is now the next morning and Willow is much better. His temperature has become more normal and he is eating again.
I will take him to the vet tomorrow for confirmation that all is well.
Thank you

Naomi
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome Naomi,

I am glad that I could shed some light on how to approach Willow's situation last night. That is great news to hear that he has settled and is back to eating for you. I agree a vt check up on Monday is a good idea to just make sure there is nothing still lurking.

All the best & a lovely day for you both,
Dr. B.

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